On reading

Dec 19, 2014
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Reading is a skill a lot of us take for granted.

I mean anyone on this forum presumably knows how to read...but what are the real-life consequences for people who DON'T read?

And more so, people who don't take time to READ and THINK about what they read?

I once applied for work as a librarian in a prison. It is well known that a lot of prisoners have ended up there precisely because they either didn't know how to read, or never read, and therefore remained ignorant of many things a person who CAN read takes for granted.

Associated with reading is also WRITING. Imagine if you couldn't write a sentence. How do you cope with life and remember to do all the things that you need to remember? Writing is as much for our own memory as its to make a record for someone else.

In church, would you not be able to progress as much in your spiritual life if all you ever did was hear a sermon once a week and never actually picked up the Bible to read it through? How can you live on just a preacher's scriptural soundbites?

When we hear the news on radio or tv, do we process it the same way that we do if we read a newspaper that can go in depth into current affairs?

What role do books play in reading, and would you realistically be able to get by without any books?
 

bobinfaith

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Hi Lanolin;

While I was reading On Reading, I thought about City Team Ministries San Francisco, a men's recovery program where I used to serve. There were men who never learned to read and their thinking was limited or street wise.

I experienced many good days as some of our brothers went through reading and writing classes, and the joy of learning how to read encouraged them to pick up the Bible and participate in Bible studies that I was privileged to teach.

Future good days was listening to some of the brothers and witnessed their development of conversation and knowledge skills, life, subjects, the Word of God, encouragement to others and writing.

I agree, Lanolin. We do take for granted the skill of reading, and writing, but for those who learn to read and write appreciate these tools that can go a long way.

I enjoyed your post, sister.

God bless you and your family.
 
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Thats a great ministry to be doing much needed Bob!

In schools what is concerning is if dyslexia isn't picked up earlier it can hold back a child. In the nz elections some parties are promising more funds so we can screen for this, and then support those that need extra help.

Although I would argue that most of us are dyslexic to some degree! Even I find some things hard to read, and I imagine when books weren't so user friendly they were quite intimidating. Without illustrations, difficult typography etc.

With the Bible, when I first started to read it I really had to go to a children's or lllustrated version, and then God really opened up scripture when I was ready but I also experienced the Holy spirit illuminating the Word for me. The Action Bible is a great resource for those that need to visualise what scripture says. Some people can do this naturally in their heads with just the words but it doesn't come easy for many.

I can't recall actively learning to read but I was drawn to books in kindergarten and I didn't know how to write then, and then somehow I learned to read and more and more and just kept going. A dictionary really helps, just getting that vocabulary, writing down words you don't know, doing crosswords and word search puzzles, reading the newspaper headlines etc. And of course visiting the library every week.

Imagine Helen Keller who was both deaf AND blind, before she could talk and then read. She was able to function with words, without them, she couldn't express what she needed. She went on to write books and live a full life even with her limitations.
 
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I'm trying to learn how to read Chinese. It's even harder. There's no alphabet, so you might not have a clue how it's pronounced unless you memorise the character. I know a few characters. But the interesting thing is once it's in your head you just know it.

Words then become like people that you know and are familiar with. I think it's a different way of reading, more visual than phonetic.
 
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A nice program for young people age 9 and up is a speed reading course. Many/most people read the same speed they talk. By simply looking at two words at a time instead of just one you can double your reading speed instantly. By looking at more than two words you can reach very high speeds. A related blessing is that the memory capacity increases at the same time to retain this large amount of information.

The drawback of teaching kids speed reading is that you have to get them tremendous amounts of books any way you can. Perhaps the church will develop a swapping library for that purpose.

How to teach: speedreading4kids.com
 
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I found a great book to learn chinese characters. It's called 'Reading and Writing Chinese' A comprehensive guide to the chinese writing system. I'm learning a lot of new words and how they are written, stroke by stroke. Its such a beautiful written language. Imagine a language thats just kind of like road signs or emojis, and each character is one syllable. It's great. The English written language, which, while phonetic so you sort of know how to say it, its much harder to get the meaning, and the alphabet doesn't even look like the words it means.

So imagine the character for 'river' actually looks like a river, with three wavy lines. And you can make words by adding characters to each other to make a new character, which takes the meaning - for example woman + child =good
 
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I found a great book to learn chinese characters. It's called 'Reading and Writing Chinese' A comprehensive guide to the chinese writing system. I'm learning a lot of new words and how they are written, stroke by stroke. Its such a beautiful written language. Imagine a language thats just kind of like road signs or emojis, and each character is one syllable. It's great. The English written language, which, while phonetic so you sort of know how to say it, its much harder to get the meaning, and the alphabet doesn't even look like the words it means.

So imagine the character for 'river' actually looks like a river, with three wavy lines. And you can make words by adding characters to each other to make a new character, which takes the meaning - for example woman + child =good

I studied Chinese until I realized that I was thirteen lessons along and was still learning to draw the characters - I had not learned a single word. I switched to another program and learned 240 words but still had no idea how to make a sentence. After that I quit.
 
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You need to keep going and make the words into sentences, language is a bit step by step and you need to practice.
It would be like learning english vocab lists and never being able to read sentences, you do that so you can read and speak. Anyone who thinks it just all comes at once is like thinking you can run before you can walk.

And of course, if you speak in tongues you could be perfectly fluent but not understanding a word of what you say - it's important to get the meaning as well as the sound.

Hands up anyone who's learned a song in another language, can pronounce it perfectly, but still have NO IDEA what they are singing about?
 

bobinfaith

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Reading is a skill a lot of us take for granted.

I mean anyone on this forum presumably knows how to read...but what are the real-life consequences for people who DON'T read?

And more so, people who don't take time to READ and THINK about what they read?

I once applied for work as a librarian in a prison. It is well known that a lot of prisoners have ended up there precisely because they either didn't know how to read, or never read, and therefore remained ignorant of many things a person who CAN read takes for granted.

Associated with reading is also WRITING. Imagine if you couldn't write a sentence. How do you cope with life and remember to do all the things that you need to remember? Writing is as much for our own memory as its to make a record for someone else.

In church, would you not be able to progress as much in your spiritual life if all you ever did was hear a sermon once a week and never actually picked up the Bible to read it through? How can you live on just a preacher's scriptural soundbites?

When we hear the news on radio or tv, do we process it the same way that we do if we read a newspaper that can go in depth into current affairs?

What role do books play in reading, and would you realistically be able to get by without any books?

Hey Lanolin;

I'd like to share with everyone but also have a couple of questions for you.

When I was six years old and in the first grade the first word that I learned was LOOK. I'll always remember my first word. During that year I was placed in the first reading group.

In the second grade my siblings and I were living in England and our parents enrolled us in private English school for the educational experience, and learned how advanced the reading was.

By third grade and back in American school I became a pretty good speller. All the glory to God!

But as I got older I lost my enjoyment for reading and this hindered my attention span and memory retention. I struggled with this in school.
Why is that for some of us, especially as we get older?

So I had to create a "reading strategy" for my homework. Lets say we had to read 60 pages or more due by the next week, I would divide 60 pages by 7 days = 8.57 pages, or round it out to 9 pages. I know most of us can read the full 60 pages in a day or so. But for me, this was my "comfort pace" and after highlighting or marking with my pen, 8 or 9 pages a day would help me retain what I'm reading.

So my second question, is there a better strategy that would increase our pace for reading?

Thank you, Lanolin and everybody.
 
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hmm I don't teach reading, but I do know that students learn better when they are interested in what they are reading (rather than just the number of pages) .
Just as I am not that interested in walking (or running) for the sake of it or timing myself. I want to walk to get TO somewhere, or to see something.

Now a lot of us when reading we want a satisfying story, and for those who can't yet handle chapter books we need shorter stories. And of course, don't try to force yourself to read an ENTIRE book in one sitting (that's what bookmarks are for!). So I think just read as much as you can handle and you decide when you want to stop, and pick it up the next time, and read a bit each day.

For children we have books that are this sort of in between stage of picture books and chapter books, sometimes highly illustrated or graphic, including comic books. There are some books that are really isn't a lot on the page, but yet its a thick book or it's a story in dialogue (like the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems) that make it fun to read as its the interaction between two different characters. And there are several in a series, so once you read one you can go onto another one, same characters, different situation.

Another trick or way to learn is to read verse or poetry. Word play is just as important in getting a grasp of the language, how it sounds just as much as what it means, and what it looks like on the page. The beauty of poetry is there is a real focus on the words and rhythm than say a long winded description or plot.

for my own love of reading it comes from learning new words and the meanings. I always looked up any words I didn't know in the dictionary. It gave me all the meanings, and was a constant companion. I wrote down any I didn't know in my spelling book.

I think as we get older its true children seem to lose their love of reading. When children are 6 they all LOVE books as everything is new to them. By the time they are 10-11 they either really love them because of their fluency in reading and read more and more, or they hate them for being too hard or boring! But I think it's also because teacher impose their view on children and make them read boring books. And picture books are then seen as too 'babyish' for them.
Or teachers read aloud boring books in class, ones they like (often school stories that are often too long) but children don't as they aren't funny or don't really grab their attention!
 
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A lot of people have short attention spans, particularly boys. I think because their brains don't adjust to reading or sitting for long periods at a time, but then you could argue they will sit through an action movie, even if it's 3 hour of star wars but not say a 2 hour romance.
 
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CPerkins

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I loved reading from a very young age. Both dad and mom read a lot and perhaps I learned from them. I remember though that there were always a few students that had difficulty reading and in some cases back then they had special classes to help them improve their reading skills. By the time my youngest brother was going through grade school I heard they were just passes kids rather than helping them when they fell behind in their reading skills.

Later I tried to help with tutoring an ESL class. That was the most challenging and frustrating thing I ever attempted. It helped me see though how frustrating it might be trying to communicate with someone when you can't read or speak their language.

cp
 
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Basic steps are phonics. Sounding out letters if its difficult and putting them together. Sounding out consonants and vowel sounds.
Some teachers ignorantly ignore these steps and want people to learn whole words when they don't even have their letters or alphabet.

Which is crazy.
 
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bobinfaith

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Me!
I could sing frere Jacques( french nursery rhyme) in french for years and only realised what it meant last year😊

A lot of people have short attention spans, particularly boys. I think because their brains don't adjust to reading or sitting for long periods at a time, but then you could argue they will sit through an action movie, even if it's 3 hour of star wars but not say a 2 hour romance.

I loved reading from a very young age. Both dad and mom read a lot and perhaps I learned from them. I remember though that there were always a few students that had difficulty reading and in some cases back then they had special classes to help them improve their reading skills. By the time my youngest brother was going through grade school I heard they were just passes kids rather than helping them when they fell behind in their reading skills.

Later I tried to help with tutoring an ESL class. That was the most challenging and frustrating thing I ever attempted. It helped me see though how frustrating it might be trying to communicate with someone when you can't read or speak their language.

cp

Attention Span and Passing the Buck

Via,
it's interesting what you shared about singing Frere Jacques and realizing what it meant only last year. When we went to the theatre to see the musical not the movie, Les Miserables I could not follow it and my attention span was short. Years later we saw a "high school" version and this time it was easy to follow. I feel since I couldn't understand the first performance it dulled my attention span.

When we took a class, One Church Four Generations we touched on the attention spans mostly with young boys. Sadly, the school or individual tutor would pass them at the minimum grade because the challenge was overwhelming. This was a gross miservice and would have ramifications later in the lives of these young men.

There was a book I read on Ritalin and the pros and cons effects of treating ADHD. I forgot the author's name. She has a child who had ADHD which led her to become a doctor and write this book. I still have the book in my library and am going to look for it.
 
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For boys they just need reading mileage, once they get on track, and into the rhythm reading becomes easier.

So there's books that have not a lot of text on the pages, but they are quite thick books because there's more pictures. The pictures give clues to the words.

There are young readers editions of longer works and abridged texts. You get the story, but not in so many words.
It's the same with the bible, you have Beginners Bibles for toddlers. And we all know toddlers have very short attention spans!

Because boys develop slower than girls, their reading level tends to be a bit lower. I think because boys are more action orientated, and find it hard to be still, they need to move around a bit. In a traditional classroom setting it's hard for them. What some teachers found useful is having wobble chairs, or even like a stationery bicycle they can pedal while reading.

I remember one librarian I worked with was always reading while he was walking round. He always had his head in a book but would walk around reading it...amazing he didn't crash into anyone.

Regarding Les Miserables, well, it's translated from the French so could be difficult to follow for anyone not familiar with French words.